Advocate Spotlight: Big Fans, With Bigger Hearts

Written by Serene Siew

Lenovo Forums advocates Mornsgrans* and Klaus Feige think nothing about spending copious amounts of time online helping ThinkPad users with technical support questions in the Lenovo Forums Community and other forums. They even travel thousands of miles around Germany, giving on-the-spot hardware fixes to machines for free. They give all they can to help fellow ThinkPad lovers and find much personal joy and satisfaction from doing so.

And get this – as a result of their involvement alongside other ThinkPad lovers in the independent german ThinkPad forum, close to €14,000 (or US $17,000) for various charitable organizations, including a children’s hospice and an aid association for cancer have been raised.

Serene:  How did the meet-ups come about?

Mornsgrans: The sessions started in 2007 when another ThinkPad user suggested having a meet-up in Kiel, Germany. It proved such a success that other ThinkPad users who heard about it wanted one as well. We have had sessions all over Germany including Berlin, Stuttgart and Duesseldorf, which are attended by passionate fans. Fellow Lenovo Forum advocates Andreas Gotthelf and Andrew Pepper also help out with their expertise.

Klaus:  While most sessions occur in specific cities targeting users who live in that area, we also have special ThinkPad gatherings meant to draw participants from all over Germany, the ‘ThinkPad Woodstock’ and ‘Northstate Community Meetings’, which we have held twice. The next meeting will be held in Hannover on September 29, 2012, so we are really looking forward to that.

Serene: What goes on at such gatherings, and how exactly do you get the word out to people?

Klaus:  Our meetings usually start with breakfast where we get to know one another and match the ‘real’ people behind their forum handles. Once the meal is over, the hard work of disassembling machines begins, followed by the replacement and installation of damaged parts. We also do simple diagnostics of a machine that is not working. Participants also make use of the meetings to sell parts and older systems, as well as show off their new ThinkPad models and even their modded systems.

Mornsgrans:  Meetings generally do not exceed eight hours, but our meetings in Berlin can go up to 20 hours! We usually post the meeting announcements in the Lenovo Forums (German) Community and of course, the german ThinkPad forum. In special cases, we organize help for individuals where we pair him or her with an experienced user in their area.

Serene:  Do participants have to pay to take part in such gatherings?

Mornsgrans: All personal costs for travel and food are borne by participants; we do not charge a cent for our services. However, participants are free to donate to our charities. Since November 2008, we have risen close to US $17,000, where the money is channeled to various charitable organizations, including a children’s hospice and an aid association for cancer and leukemia. Most of the donations come from regular participants and organizers through the meet-ups and auctions.

Klaus: If I hadn’t covered 20 ThinkPad meetings last year and spent more than US $2,000 the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon could have been mine! I am kidding of course — it’s all worth it. I love meeting all the wonderful ThinkPad enthusiasts in person and helping them.

Serene: What was the most memorable gathering for you to date?

Klaus: A participant bought a man-sized bear off the Internet but could not transport it from Munich to his home location. He then ‘organized’ its transport, carrying that huge bear aboard a train until he arrived at the meeting place in Duesseldorf, before stuffing it in his car and driving home. It was the funniest sight ever.

*Real name held by request.

Klaus Feige was an L2 support engineer for 13 years before he started work for an urban transportation company and is a Lenovo Forums Moderator. Mornsgrans is an administrator in a chemical plant and is a Lenovo Forums Guru.  Touch base with them by joining our community today!